Interview: T-Klassiq blends pop sparkle with cool Afro-pop rhythms

Image courtesy T-Klassiq
Image courtesy T-Klassiq /

Afro-pop artist T-Klassiq recently released the music video for “Overcome,” featuring well-known Nigerian rapper Eedris Abdulkareem and Montreal’s Makossa artist Kevin Boy.

Originally from Nigeria, now based in Montreal, T-Klassiq got his start singing in his church’s choir, but didn’t pursue it seriously until later when he was attending university in Canada. Initially, he released his music under the name T-Classic, followed by reinventing himself as T-Klassiq.

His cool blend of pop flavors with afro-beats garnered acknowledgment and accumulated an increasing number of fans, including multitudes of international listeners.

“Overcome,” inspired by the pandemic, delivers stylish layers of pop tinctures riding on a warm afro-beat, transforming it into an uplifting anthem capable of dispelling the troubling events occurring in the world.

Opening on bright shimmering colors, “Overcome” travels on a tasty riddim vibrating with heartening energy, while T-Klassiq’s velvety tones infuse the lyrics with optimism. The video, shot in a room papered with headlines and articles describing the adverse occurrences throughout the world, counteracts the discouraging reports with smooth, infectious melodicism rippling with feel-good vibes.

Rhyme Junkie sat down with T-Klassiq to discover more about his cashmere R&B sound and how he brings it all together.

How did you get started in music? What’s the backstory there?

I started music in the choir as a seven-year-old back in Nigeria learning the rudiments of high-life music and some other genres as my church choir was quite a dynamic one at that time. I started life as a solo artist during my undergrad days singing in churches, and school events. Music comes naturally to me, so it’s an inbuilt thing, I would say.

What’s the story behind the name T-Klassiq?

T is the first letter of my middle name Temitope. I was first known as T-Classic and I chose that name because my music is one that brings a classic style from the history of African music fusing with modern pop. I chose to rebrand and my style changing things about my outlook and style on January 1, 2020. It started from the name. Other things followed.

What’s your favorite song to belt out in the car or the shower?

That’s a difficult question to answer because the shower has been an inspirational place for lots of my songs that have been composed. In the car, I’ll say “Overcome” because I’m not yet tired of putting it on replay.

What singers/musicians influenced you the most?

Afrobeats legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Pop legend Michael Jackson, and Akon.

As an up-and-coming artist, what’s been your biggest challenge so far?

I’ll say doing things independently.

Is your sound evolving? If so, in which direction? Toward R&B, trap, or some other direction?

Of course, it is. That was one of the reasons behind the need for rebranding I mentioned earlier. I’ll say towards R&B because I’ve been getting some love feelings of late and lots of compositions have stemmed from that. But then my style of Afro-pop is my main game for now.

Hip-hop is by far the most popular music genre in the world. How do you keep your sound fresh and avoid coming across as derivative?

My voice is quite unique and distinctive, so is my style. I believe with time people will get to know the difference between what I bring to the table and other wagons.

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What is your songwriting process?  Do the rhymes come first, or the music?

It depends on the time and what inspires the song. Sometimes, the tune just gets stuck in my head and then I write out the lyrics, then I take my time to fuse it all up. Sometimes, I just mumble some lines and I think it makes sense, and then every other thing follows.

What was the inspiration for your new single/music video “Overcome?”

I’ll say Covid-19. But then everyone was singing about the washing of hands and sanitizing, but no one was talking about how we are living and the prospects of getting back to normal life afterward, so the birth of “Overcome.” It is something that applies to every situation in which we find ourselves in life, we struggle and think there is no way out but then, something happens, and we win the situation.

Where was the video shot and who directed it?

The video was shot in Montreal and directed by Prince Ajayi (a young ambitious and talented video producer and director).

What do you want people to take away from the music video?

The message that there’s always an end to every problem.

How are you handling the coronavirus situation?

I’ll say I’m trying my best to take advantage of it rather than letting it weigh me down. I protect myself and ensure that I follow public safety guidelines.

Looking ahead, what’s next?

There are a few more singles in the pipeline before the release of my first album. There’s a new single that is ready to hit the people. It’s just a matter of when it will be released as there’s a need to get things right from now onwards.

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